Pages

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Goodbye Bear

 Oh, this is a difficult post to write....

Last Thursday, my beloved dog Bear made his final trip to the vet.


A rainy day in Indian Heaven Wilderness

I knew it was coming.  Bear was over 14 years old.  His hips and back legs were failing, and the doggy ibuprofen he'd been taking for several months wasn't keeping pace with the pain.  He couldn't make it through the night without pooping in the house, so we had to sequester him in the bathroom (which he hated).  But those of you who've had pets know how much they become members of the family.  I just couldn't bring myself to make that final appointment.  Finally, my kids and husband convinced me it was time to say goodbye.


On Hamilton Mountain

It all began back in 2003.  My daughter, spotting a cute puppy in the local pet store, asked me if we could have a dog.  Not wanting to be the bad guy, I told her to "ask your father," thinking my hubby would nix the idea.  My bluff was called when Denise posed this question to her Dad, and surprisingly he said yes.


Denise and Bear


By then, the cute puppy had already been adopted, so my kids and I visited the Oregon Humane Society on a quest for our new best friend.  At first, I was less than impressed.  Most of the dogs were barking furiously as we passed by, and I didn't want a loud barker.  But then Denise discovered a black and white dog huddled in the corner, looking sad.  A tag on the door said his name was Bear.


McNeil Point, above the shelter

After taking him out to the exercise area, Denise and Bear connected instantly.  A week later, we were loading him into our minivan.


Bear loved his Frisbee

Over a year old, Bear had already lived a hard life.  His former owners surrendered this wonderful dog because they couldn't afford to care for him (the shelter staff also hinted that divorce and domestic violence were involved).  Bear was dangerously thin, filthy dirty, and suffering from Kennel Cough (he'd never been to a vet for vaccinations).  When we brought him home, Bear was also recovering from being neutered (the Humane Society "fixes" all their animals prior to adoption).


"C'mon mom, put down the camera and let's go!"

My daughter instantly bonded with Bear.  She took him for daily walks, was responsible for feeding, and even cleaned up the poop!  She taught him to do tricks, and he slept in her room every night.  A shy, skittery dog, it took Bear a little more time to connect with the rest of my family.  But once he realized this was home, Bear opened up to us all, and took his job of keeping track of us seriously.  We became his "pack."


Enjoying the flowers

We never determined Bear's exact lineage, but always assumed it was mostly Border Collie.  A little research discovered this breed needed to have a "job" or they started causing mischief.  By accident, we discovered Bear loved to play fetch, and found he was a great Frisbee catcher.  Playing Frisbee every day became Bear's "job" and he did it well.  In his prime, Bear could jump and catch a Frisbee in midair.  He was deadly accurate, and rarely missed.


Ready for another Frisbee throw!




Never have I seen a dog who loved his Frisbee as much as Bear.  He'd carry it in his mouth on walks to the park, and soon was known in our neighborhood as the "Frisbee dog."  Bear's way of greeting someone new was to drop a Frisbee at their feet, and look hopefully up at them.  Little kids were his favorite playmates, and Bear didn't care if their throws were short - he'd faithfully fetch the Frisbee and return it to their feet.


Classic "Border Collie crouch"

During the day, when Roger and I were at work and the kids at school, we'd leave Bear in our fenced backyard.  Bear, who took his house watching job very seriously, didn't like being someplace where he couldn't see out front.  He was such a smart dog, Bear figured out ways to escape from our backyard, and gained his freedom countless times.  He never wandered far - we always found him sitting on our front doorstep.  In the house, he'd stare out our living room window, keeping an eye on the activity in our front yard.  A knock or chime of the doorbell brought out a round of ferocious barking - that is, until the person walked inside, where they were greeted with a Frisbee dropped at their feet.


Bear demonstrates his amazing jumping abilities

Bear and I bonded over our love of hiking.  After taking him on a few quick rambles in the Gorge, I discovered Bear was happy bounding down a trail.  But he never traveled far, always keeping his "people" in sight.  When hiking with a large group, his herding instincts kicked in.  Bear would run back and forth on the trail, checking on his "herd," making sure everyone stayed together.  We always joked Bear traveled twice the distance of anyone else.


Near Dollar Lake, Mt. Hood

I often hike by myself, and Bear made a great companion on those solo trips.  I can think of a couple instances where I'd lost the trail, and Bear was the one that found the way.  I never worried about wild animals, or creepy people.  No was was going to mess with someone who had a dog.  Bear would normally run ahead of me a short distance, and then look back as if to say "are you coming?"  I have many photos of him staring back at me as if to say "put down the camera and let's go!"


Flower field, Grassy Knoll Trail

Bear and I have hiked a countless number of trails both in Oregon and Washington.  He's had many trips to the coast, where Bear would run and run along the sandy beach, wearing a big doggy grin.  He's come camping with us, and made several trips to both Montana and South Dakota.  Roger even tried to take Bear fishing, but that didn't go so well.  All Bear wanted to do was fetch the line after it was cast into the water.


Final beach trip New Year's Day 2015

The funniest thing about Bear was his obsession with bubbles.  He absolutely loved to jump up and pop them.  Bear was a very smart dog and knew what a bottle of bubble stuff looked like.  He'd get so excited when someone brought out a bottle.  Going through my photos, I discovered this video of Bear showing off his finest bubble-popping moves.






Sadly, over the last two years of Bear's life, the hiking, bubble-popping, and finally even the Frisbee catching came to an end.  When Bear stopped climbing the stairs to our bedrooms and stumbled going in and out the back door, I knew his days were numbered.


A gray, old dog

Our house seems so quiet now.  There's an empty spot in the bathroom where his dishes once resided.  I already miss Bear's tail-wagging greetings when I come through the door.

He was the best hiking buddy a gal could ever ask for.  RIP Bear.  I know you're in a better place, but I'm sure gonna miss you.


46 comments:

  1. Rest In Peace Bear! Linda you did good, we have to take the best care we can of our dogs, it is really, really hard to let go. Paw prints are on our hearts forever. My sympathy to all of your family. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah what a sweet tribute to your buddy we will miss seeing his face in your pictures but he is now free of pain and catching Frisbee all the time watching over you hugs

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. He was such a sweet dog. I loved the video.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh Linda, I am so sorry for your loss of Bear. I know how it feels after having to do the same with our Goldie Girl. Now, we have to remember all the fun happy times and memories. Bear was a sweet beautiful dog, lovely tribute to Bear. RIP BEAR!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so sad for you Linda. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet like this. You were meant to have this beautiful dog in your life and I can tell he loved all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. such a sad time for you Linda...I'll be thinking of you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those are some wonderful pictures of Bear and what wonderful memories you have. Whenever I read one of your posts about a hike with Bear I thought how lucky you were to have such a loyal friend to join you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beautiful tribute. It was wonderful to read and yet so difficult; I can only imagine how hard it was for you to write. I'm so sorry for your loss, Linda. May Bear rest in peace.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Bear. It sounds like he brought you and your family many years of his own special brand of unconditional love. How fortunate you are to have had him in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so sorry for your loss. You wrote a fine tribute for your best friend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That must be so hard to cope with, wish you strength for today and always. Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Linda, my heart goes out to you! I have had cats all my life and I know your pain. This is such a lovely tribute and your photos are beautiful and touching. You did the absolute right thing to end his suffering and this will hopefully give you some comfort, even if a little. Sending you warm hugs and much love.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have wonderful memories of a wonderful companion. So sorry for your loss and hope you will one day only remember the good times. I understand your grief. :-(

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing such a lovely tribute! I am so sorry for your loss of Bear.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm so sad while reading this. I can't even begin to imagine what this loss must feel like to you. Bear was an incredible dog and part of your family. I keep looking at the images here, and have to say that Bear had an incredible life with you. You took him to so many places and he enjoyed it so very much. You can see the joy in his eyes.
    I am so sorry for you loss, It's going to be hard to keep going, but rest assured that you have him an incredible life that any dog would wish for!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a wonderful tribute to Bear.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I could almost cry. What a wonderful dog he was. Big hugs. Give yourself a little time and then go get another, there are always lots that need homes at the shelter.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Such a special dog. With your memories and photographs, he will never be far away.
    The video of his love of bubbles is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This post about your loss of Bear brings tears to my eyes. Your photo tribute is sweet. I grew up on a farm with dogs. It was always hard when they died. Pets are in the family and they always do something special endear us to them. May God give you peace and comfort in your time of loss, my friend. Thanks for sharing your memories of Bear, the dog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great tribute to Bear. I'm sorry you lost him.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What great memories and fantastic photos you have of Bear, and what a big space your hiking buddy leaves behind in your life. He was so lucky to have been your dog. Loving kindness sent your way right now.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Such a loving tribute and wonderful photos, Linda. We have known this pain multiple times: it is never easy. Clearly he had a wonderful life with you and your family, and you can be proud of being such a great mom for so many years.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Beautiful tribute to your fine dog. I know how you feel.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Lindas fotografias para um adeus a um amigo.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Bless your hearts for giving Bear such a fabulous home. He'll be waiting for you all on the other side with his frisbee I am sure.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so sorry. Losing a pet is so hard. You gave him a good life.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful dog.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I know just how you are feeling right now Linda. The loss is an enormous weight that surrounds you and the emptiness is an incredible void that can't be filled. It's been a year since my Coco died and I still look at the areas she slept in, and listen out for her little barks. This is a beautiful post of such a sweet pooch's life. I am so sorry you are going through this and know that you are in my thoughts xx

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lovely post and photos. Sorry for your loss as my dog went the same way years ago and Alex's did as well. He had a similar looking Border Collie. At least Bear had a great new life with you and your family and had many years of fun and adventures. That's all anyone can hope for before they go.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh, so sad. We just lost a dog suddenly so I understand what you are going through.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sorry for your loss. I feel your dog were very happy. I hope you will recover from your saddness.

    ReplyDelete
  32. He looks like such a sweet dog. What a nice tribute you gave him. So many great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my Linda, I am so sorry to hear about Bear!! He was such an amazing hiking companion. I always loved seeing him in your posts. It's so true that they become like a member of the family. I loved the video of him popping bubbles. May he rest in peace!!
    hugs,
    Jann

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, Linda... I am so sorry to hear about Bear. There is nothing like sharing a life with an animal, and when they leave us, it leaves such an ache. It looks like he had a great life with your family, and I know he'll be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Linda.. I somehow missed your post.
    I am so very sorry to hear of Bear moving on. I know how much you loved him, and no doubt he loved you. Words cannot express..
    My heart truly hurts for you. ♥

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to him.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Linda, your post brought tears to my eyes as I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. Bear will always live on in your heart and memories.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I said good bye to my sweet Buster three years ago and wrote a long blog post about him. I loved him. I am so sorry for your deep loss.
    http://didyoubringyourcamera.blogspot.com/2012/03/buster.html

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh, Linda. I am SO very sorry! I know what you must be feeling...seeing Bear in your pictures these last few years always made me smile. He was one very special pup companion!! Hugs to you and your family.
    Aimee

    ReplyDelete
  40. A lovely tribute to a dear friend! Know how hard this loss is and my heart goes out to you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Such a beautiful tribute, and what wonderful memories you have of your faithful companion and friend.

    ReplyDelete
  42. The perfect tribute to a life long friendship for Bear. It's tough when you have to say goodbye as I have before but the memories live long I felt the love and friendship right through the post.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Linda and Family, I am so sorry for your loss of this wonderful friend and companion. What a expressive face - his personality just shines. Hugs to you from CO.

    ReplyDelete
  44. So sorry you are missing Bear. But remember all the good times you gave to him. You and your family were his whole life and you gave him a great life. That is an old old age for Bear and he knew he was loved. I understand as I had to put down my golden when she was quite young and it is so hard. hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Linda I've been (Behind) with visiting so I just learned this sad news about Bear. This was a beautiful tribute to him. He was certainly a very well loved dog. I have enjoyed seeing his pictures with you on different outings and will miss him too. So very sorry for your loss. I hope that someday you'll find it in your heart to give another dog a chance at a better life like Bear was able to have with you. Such sweet, sweet memories. Hugs to you all.

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.